By Stephen Dee, parkrun tourist from Dishley parkrun
I am currently into the third week of a 4 week tour of Scotland cycling, and Saturdays have been designated "Rest Days" so I can do parkrun. Prior to crossing the border I had done two other parkruns away from my home run, hence I have know done 5 in a row: Riddlesdown, Clifton, Vogrie, Crathes Castle and now Elgin. In the world of parkrun Countdown, I think I need a few more vowels and consonants, but it is looking good for Pirates!
So, Saturday I turned up in good time at Cooper's park for my 14th parkrun and 11th location. I like to arrive in good time, so I was early along with another parkrun tourist and a local expecting a 9am start. So, I explained that most parkruns in Scotland are 9:30 starts.
Being early I was able to ear wig the volunteers briefing, where it was announced that one of the bar code scanners was celebrating their 50th time in that role. I learnt afterwards, another clocked up 75 times bar code scanning. Well done to both as without volunteers parkrun will not be able to take place.
In all there were 241 runners, including the two tail walkers. Going through the results there seems to be loads of first timers, then I twigged they include parkrun tourists running at Elgin for the first time, such as yours truly. So with a bit of a data sort, I concluded there were 12 runners who where really first timers. Well done - I hope you enjoyed parkrun enough to run again on a regular basis. Remember it is a run, and
times are really only for you to measure your progress. Some days it will be like running in treacle, other days you will fly along (metaphorically speaking). Last week I felt like running in treacle, partly because of injury and partly because of the course, this week I felt a lot better and improved my time by 12 minutes but ended 153 places lower down!
For Elgin parkrun #207 the guest reporter was commenting on the record turnout of 296. Whilst this week's turnout was below that, it was a very healthy turnout. In the 6 weeks since being back post Lockdown, all of the Elgin parkruns have had 216 or more runners. I am not sure what the weather was like for parkrun #210, but if it was wet like in the Dee Valley where I was (ED's note: it was very wet!), 216 turnout was pretty good. All the parkruns since restart have been in the top 14 for turnout, and apart from #210, in the top 6 for turnout. So, when the Run Director was attributing the good turnout to the nice weather, that is only partly true - there is a definite upturn in numbers.
With the large turnout, I did make the mistake of hanging around at back of the start line, as with my time there was no point in clogging up the front for the faster runners. As a consequence, I barely heard what was being said at the before start briefing. No problems at the separate first time briefing. So, if I missed out on commenting on any milestones -apologies, I didn't hear.
From the prerun chat with others, there was one park run tourist, who in all fairness probably could be reclassified as running their first parkrun at their new home course. They had moved in to their new abode in the area, only 3 days beforehand!
What I like about parkrun with it being a run and not a race, it encourages all to run including some inspirational people to run. A lady I ran for a short way with, was recovering from cancer so I was able to explain about the 5k Your Way movement, which is aimed at those with cancer under going treatment and post treatment, and their friends and family. And as I was setting off to do other things, there was the chap doing the course on crutches and a walking boot in the final section of the pan handle. Those who have broken their ankles, me included, know that it can be very difficult to walk after having had one's foot in the air for 6 weeks with no weight on it. So well done to all those who are during parkrun during as part of their journey to recovery from whatever personal adversary one may be going through.
The course was as described on the tin, mix of tarmac and concrete paths. Although with the growth in numbers, some of the narrow sections were a bit busy with people. With the large turnout it meant that a slow runner such as myself, had others one could pace and or chat with. The pan handle shape also meant one got to see most runners in action. On the pan handle section I noticed there was an unofficial time keeper. When I passed him the second time, he predicted a time of 35 minutes for me, which was not bad, as I was 35:37 as after seeing him for the last time, I had paused to say thank you in my own little way to the two volunteers by the bridge.
I would like to thank the Run Director (Gwen) and her team of 17 volunteers for making today possible. Without the dedicated work of the Core Team in the background and the Run Director and team of Volunteers on the day parkrun would not be possible. So, thank you to all involved with Elgin parkrun.
ED Note: Thank you for visiting us Stephen!